Home Cisco’s Social Networking Strategy Comes Into Focus

Cisco’s Social Networking Strategy Comes Into Focus

Last February Cisco, the venerable provider of Internet backbone hardware, got its hands wet in the social networking scene by acquiring Five Across, a provider of enterprise social networking software. A little under a month later, the acquisition bug struck again as Cisco purchased the assets of social community site Tribe.net. The acquisitions seemed a little odd to some folks at the time. Matt Marshall of VentureBeat started off a post about the Five Across acquisition by asking, “What has the world come to?”

Ultimately, as Marshall concluded, Cisco saw social networking as a wider trend that will drive a lot of Internet traffic — over their routers, if they played their cards right. So the push into the social networking space made sense and today Cisco’s social strategy comes into focus with Infoworld reporting that Cisco will introduce its Entertainment Operating System (EOS) platform next year.

EOS is a software platform that will be used to deliver video and other multimedia content to online community properties. Social networks run by the National Hockey League and the NASCAR are already using pieces of the EOS software to deliver video to consumers (the NHL was a customer of Five Across). EOS will help customers deliver content, as well as allow consumers to find relevant content, and then interact with it and each other.

According to Dan Scheinman, SVP and GM of Cisco’s media solutions group, providing richer interactions for fans on social networking sites can benefit the content provider. When users are commenting on rich media, like videos, visits increase three to five fold, which translates to three to five times as many advertising opportunities, he told IDG.

“We’ve become the only company that can do all of these three things together,” Scheinman said, speaking of EOS as a delivery, social networking, and content recommendation platform. EOS will go on sale in 2008.

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